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Published: Friday, 10/16/2009

Sheehan to Barnes a top-notch combo for BGSU

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

BOWLING GREEN - The numbers for the first half of the college football season for Freddie Barnes and Tyler Sheehan reveal plenty about Bowling Green State University's lethal pass-catch tandem.

Barnes leads the country in receptions with 75. His total includes a record-setting performance of 22 grabs for 278 yards - including three touchdowns - in the Falcons' 36-35 win over Kent State last Saturday. The six-foot, 206-pound senior came one catch shy of equaling the NCAA record for receptions in a game.

His 722 receiving yards also ranks No. 1 in the country while his 120.33 receiving yards per game average ranks fifth overall.

Meanwhile, Sheehan completed the first half of the season ranked first in the country in pass attempts (296) and completions (192) and second in passing yards (1,960).. He also ranks fourth in the nation in passing yards per game (318.17), and has thrown 11 touchdowns and four interceptions.

Frankly, the Sheehan-to-Barnes pair ranked second-to-none during the first half of the season.

BG first-year coach Dave Clawson said Sheehan and Barnes are putting together the best single-season pass-and-catch tandem he's ever coached.

He coached at Villanova when Chris Boden passed for more than 4,000 yards in one season and Brian Finneran came through with 96 catches for 1,389 yards.

"I've had a couple, but not to this level," said Clawson, when asked to compare Sheehan and Barnes with other passing tandems he's coached in the past.

Barnes' play has helped bring national attention to the Falcons, who will play at Ball State (0-6, 0-2 MAC) in a Mid-American Conference matchup tomorrow.

Barnes' productivity has catapulted him into the national media spotlight. He appeared on ESPN2's First Take earlier this week and the BG athletic department created a Web page dedicated specifically to highlighting his season-long achievements.

His name is now starting to be mentioned as a legitimate candidate for individual postseason awards, such as the Fred Biletnikoff award, which is presented annually to the nation's best college receiver.

"It's always about the team first but you can certainly say what Freddie is doing is helping our team," Clawson said.

"I certainly think he deserves all the accolades if he continues to keep playing this well."

Barnes previously recorded single-game totals of 15 and 17 receptions in contests earlier this season and in each instance established BG single-game receptions records.

Despite having at least 28 more catches than the next best receiver, Barnes isn't ready to say he's the top pass-catching target in all of college football.

"I've been able to make some plays for the team and that's only because the way that my teammates and coaching staff believe in me," Barnes said. "I would never see myself saying such a thing [as being the best], because I watch football all the time and I know the ins and outs whenever I see a good player.

"I know there are a lot of great players out there, so I don't see myself disrespecting some of those guys."

He's certainly been Sheehan's favorite receiver to play catch with during the first six weeks.

The Falcons' three-year starting quarterback has passed for more than 8,000 career yards and has completed a school-record 64 percent of his pass attempts during his career. He could easily make a case for having his own Web page.

Yet, Sheehan has no problem understanding why Barnes has grabbed so much attention this fall.

"He does have 75 catches through six games, so not many people can say that ever," Sheehan said.

Contact Donald Emmons at:

demmons@theblade.com

or 419-724-6302



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